Saturday, February 27, 2010

Boies & Olson

Hands down the most fun one hour on TV last night: Bill Moyers' Journal on PBS.

Lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson were on the show (yes, the same guys who were on opposing sides for the election recount case, representing Gore and Dubya respectively). Except this time, Boies and Olson are on the same side, defending marriage equality. (Followers of technology news know Boies as the lawyer who fought the famous Microsoft antitrust case or as the lawyer who represented Napster against RIAA.)

In one hour, the two men brilliantly articulated their views on why not recognizing same-sex marriage amounted to discrimination. There was not the tiniest bit of exaggeration, FUD or condescension or animosity displayed toward the groups opposed to marriage equality. Just the facts: not allowing same-sex marriage is discrimination and discrimination is wrong.

You can watch the program and read the full transcript on PBS's website.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dog Bites Man

"Tillikum, nicknamed "Tilly," has a controversial past. The large whale was blamed for the drowning of one of his trainers in 1991 while he was performing at Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia."
A controversial past? What?

You nicknamed a fucking whale "Tilly" and expected it to play nice? (The story in question.)

The Andaman Islands, Circa 2010

Kalyan Varma, one of the best wildlife photographers working in India, writes about Andaman and Nicobar Islands:
"There is very little of original, undisturbed, pristine rainforests left. The Andamans were the timber source for mainland India for many decades. In fact till recently, the largest saw-mill in Asia was operated out of there."
Who knew timber came from those islands? I always assumed it came from some ramshackle saw-mill shop down the road.

Read the full post here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Uncle Sam Loves You More Than You Will Know

"Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols..."
According to this frightening little report in Slate (via Metafilter), the federal alcohol poisoning program killed nearly 10,000 Americans during the Prohibition years.

I am positive the deceased and their families appreciate the government's genuine concern for their well-being.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Long Drawn Out Trip

Cartoonist, animator and artist Gerald Scarfe is known for such works as his animation in Pink Floyd's The Wall and his illustrations for the TV series "Yes Minister". You may have also seen his drawings in the New Yorker.

In 1971, while working with the BBC, Scarfe traveled to Los Angeles to study a new animation system and made a film about his experiences in the US, titled "A Long Drawn Out Trip".

Even though this was Scarfe's first film, there's no mistaking his voice and style. A skeleton pulls out a rib and it turns into a naked woman; flying bombs turn into a giant robotic hand; "Star-spangled Banner" plays (Hendrix's version naturally) while the image on the screen morphs from a jumble of inky squiggles into Nixon and Batman. (And finally, poor Mickey Mouse gets stoned.)

The full film is not available online but someone on YT has been nice enough to post some excerpts of the film, including a "missing scene". So enjoy this footage of Gerald Scarfe's A Long Drawn Out Trip. (Parts of the film are NSFW.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Vatican Approves Of Flashing The Devil Sign During Prayer

No they didn't, but its "semi-official" newspaper has published its own list of top rock albums. The Beatles' "Revolver" topped the list.

Go on, Ratzinger, say it. They were more popular than Jesus. Also, please don't encourage U2.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Next (F9)

This is anarchy: "". (You can google it. It's potentially NSFW.)

The site is the creation of a Russian teenager. (Link to NYT) But it was this piece in the New York magazine that sort of brought ChatRoulette into the mainstream.

Enjoy. Or don't.

I may not have been as creative as that Russian kid but I did figure out how to turn off that sneaky piece of shit software feature called Google Buzz. (It's a tiny link at the very bottom of your Gmail page.) That must easily have been the most evil, the most insidious, the most careless software product introduction ever.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Area Man Bows To The Internet

I came across a strange anime video set to, of all things, Eddie Rabbit's "I love a rainy night". Talk about Country & Eastern. The video is delightfully Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and disturbing and it's....on replay.

A member of YouTube's esteemed commenter community, who appears to be just as confused as I was after watching the video, says on that page, "what does eddie rabit have to do with jappanese cartoon hookers???"

I don't know, man. Why is a raven like a writing desk? Does the Pope shit in the woods? All I know is, genuinely weird mashups are rare (and extremely entertaining) and this video is one very weird mashup.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

You Don't Need A Weatherman To Know Which Way The Wind Blows

From a weather forecast for our area: "Chance of snow near 100 percent".

There's a foot out there. A foot of snow, I mean. A human foot in the snow would be disturbing. Unless there were a live human being attached to it, of course. Then it would be normal.

News websites are describing the snowstorm as "historic" and "epic". I am disappointed that I have not yet seen sword-wielding warriors, riding on chariots, singing and crying "Valhalla I am coming!" in the streets. Then again, it's only 9:20AM.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Boat Behind

From the Norwegian duo "Kings of Convenience" (who are often compared to Simon & Garfunkel) comes a lovely little song* called Boat Behind.

Though the vocal styling, especially in the chorus, is Paul Simon-esque, the song's arrangement sounds like it could belong to some old Paul McCartney album.

It's a warm, sunny melody - just perfect for a day when we are expecting at least a foot of snow.

*From their album Declaration of Dependence

Famous Tours

If Ronnie Wood and My Morning Jacket went on tour, it would be called the "My Morning Wood" tour.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Reading a brilliant biography of physicist Paul Dirac. A cool bit of trivia from the book: Paul Dirac and Cary Grant (then Archie Leach) grew up just a few blocks apart in Bristol, UK and even went to the same school.

As they say, "Mind = Blown".

Monday, February 01, 2010